Boxing: Ali charisma to fuel Fury

A triumphant Tyson Fury celebrating after his unanimous points win which ended Wladimir Klitschko's run of 19 straight title defences. The Briton aims to be the most charismatic world heavyweight champion since Muhammad Ali, who won the title three t
A triumphant Tyson Fury celebrating after his unanimous points win which ended Wladimir Klitschko's run of 19 straight title defences. The Briton aims to be the most charismatic world heavyweight champion since Muhammad Ali, who won the title three times, in 1964, 1974 and 1978.PHOTO: REUTERS

World heavyweight title a shock, but Briton was confident he would dethrone Klitschko

DUSSELDORF (Germany) • Britain's Tyson Fury has vowed to be "the most charismatic champion since Muhammad Ali", after delivering on his promise to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko and become the new world heavyweight boxing champion.

"I always said what I would do and I delivered. I didn't have this confidence for nothing," beamed Fury, 27, after his unanimous points win ended Klitschko's run of 19 consecutive defences.

Fury was awarded the fight 115-112, 115-112 and 116-111 by the judges on Saturday, as Klitschko's reign as world champion was finally ended after nine years and six months.

Fury takes Klitschko's World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF), International Boxing Organisation (IBO) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) belts as the Ukrainian suffered his first defeat since 2004.

"I knew all along I could win the fight," said Fury, whose corner exploded into celebration once the verdict was announced.

"I saw in his eyes that he was going to lose this fight."

The new champion celebrated his victory by singing Aerosmith's Don't Want To Miss A Thing in the ring, a rendition he dedicated to his wife, Paris.

"I felt a lot more love from them (his fans) then I felt for him (Klitschko) from his," added the underdog, who shed 32kg in five months to get into shape for the fight.

"It was a tough task coming here, that's why he's avoided me for the last five years.

"People can say what they want about me, he was hanging on for dear life in that fight all the way through.

"He's been a great champion, but every good dog has its day. This is that start of a new era. I'll be the most charismatic champion since Muhammad Ali."

This was Fury's 25th professional success and he will cash in on the victory, regardless of his fight purse, having bet £200,000 (S$425,000) on himself.

"Nobody believed he could do it, only me, (trainer and uncle) Peter and his brother," Tyson's father John Fury told the BBC. "We've ripped these belts off a super champion. We have changed the world."

The fight was a poor display by Klitschko, who finished with cuts to both cheeks while Fury was unmarked.

Fury, at 2.06m - some eight centimetres taller than his opponent, kept Klitschko at bay, with the champion unable to unleash his lethal right and reduced to jabbing away with his left whenever he managed to get within striking distance and doing little damage.

"I must admit that Tyson Fury was faster and better," Klitschko, whose record now stands at 64 wins and four defeats, told German broadcaster RTL. "(My) speed was missing, for a big man he is incredibly agile. I didn't put the punches in and could not find the right key to open up the fight."

The 39-year-old said he will "definitely" use the option of a rematch, which is in the fight contract.

The bout took place at the second attempt, as the original October date had to be scrapped after Klitschko suffered a calf injury.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Ali charisma to fuel Fury'. Print Edition | Subscribe